Thursday, February 25, 2010

Political Motivation Behind Google Ruling in Italy?

The New York Times suggests the recent Italian court ruling that Google executives are criminally responsible for offensive Internet content may have a broader political motivation and that the ruling is related to Prime Minister Berlusconi's ownership and control of many of Italy's media outlets:
"Critics of Mr. Berlusconi say the measures go beyond routine copyright questions and are a way to stave off competition from the Web to public television stations and his own private channels — and to keep a tighter grip on public debate."
Specifically, the accusation is that those who control the broadcast media in Italy want to control the Internet as well:
"Paolo Gentiloni, a leading opposition member and a former communications minister, said Internet regulation was inevitably political. Today in Italy, he said, “political power is in the hands of people who do TV, not the Internet."
The Italian government denies any such motivation for the courts ruling or recently proposed measures by the Italian legislature to regulate Internet activities:
"Paolo Romani, a deputy communications minister who sponsored the measure, said the issue was copyright protection. “It has nothing to do with the fact that our prime minister also owns television stations,” he said. “It’s in Berlusconi’s interest not to be accused of conflict of interest.”

Larger Threat Is Seen in Google Case

No comments: